KATHLEEN, Ga. — The Veterans Warhawks are off to a fast start. They began the season 12-0 and have only lost 1 game as of January 6.  A big part of the success is 6th man Ryland Pereda and he's this week's Athlete of the Week.

Pereda is not going to lead the Warhawks in scoring, but he understands his role on the squad.

“I’m not necessarily a big time scorer, but I know I have to play good, solid defense, box out here and there and hit a couple of shots,” Pereda said.

The junior guard is what many would call a “glue guy.”

“Without them the chemistry of the team is not going to flow correctly so you always have to have a couple of those guys,” Pereda said.

The sixth man has seen plenty of minutes this year and head coach Brett Hardy said it's because he can trust Pereda to do the little things.

“He does everything we ask him to, really. From taking charges, diving on the floor and those kind of things, I think that's what makes him valuable to our team and he's a real student of the game,” Hardy said.

But Pereda is not just brains on the basketball floor. It translates to the classroom. Pereda boasts a 4.0 GPA and he tries to stretch himself in both arenas.

“I'm in two AP classes this year and I’ve had all A's throughout all of high school,” Pereda said. “I mean it's all the same, a bunch of preparation, hard work and the results come from there.”

Hardy is blown away by Pereda’s dedication to his academic achievement.

“It's very rare as a coach to have somebody I think that takes on the demanding side of the academic schedule,” said Hardy. “I know last year he took AP stats and got a 5 on the AP test, so he works hard in the classroom and does a good job.”

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